Military Wiki

A headstamp is the markings on the bottom of a cartridge case designed for a firearm. It usually tells who manufactured the case. Military headstamps usually have only the year of manufacture .

The left cartridge's headstamp says "FC 223 REM" which means that is was made by Federal Cartridge Co. and it is in the caliber ".223 Remington". The cartridge on the right has a headstamp that says "LC 99" with a symbol that consists of a cross in a circle. This cartridge was made in 1999 by the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, in Independence, MO, USA. The symbol on this headstamp means it meets NATO specifications.

The headstamp is punched into the base of the cartridge during manufacture. A resource for identifying where the ammunition originated can be found at Cartridge Collectors.

Military Headstamps

Two digits are the last two digits of the year of manufacture. Early 20th century cartridges may have additional digits or a letter indicating the month of manufacture. The letter code indicates the place of manufacture:[1]

American Military Cartridges

US Arsenals

  • FA Frankford Arsenal - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • AO or KS Allegheny Ordnance Plant (Kelly Springfield) - Cumberland, Maryland: Operated by Kelly-Springfield Tire Co., a division of Goodyear Rubber.
  • DEN Denver Ordnance Plant - Denver, Colorado: a division of Remington Arms. (1941-1945)
  • DM Des Moines Ordnance Plant - Des Moines, Iowa: a division of US Rubber Co. (January 1942 to July 1945)
  • EC Evansville Ordnance Plant (Chrysler) - Evansville, Ohio: a division of Chrysler. (June 1942 to April 1944)
  • ECS Evansville Ordnance Plant (Sunbeam) - Evansville, Indiana: a division of Sunbeam Refrigerator Co.. (1942-1944)
  • EW Eau Claire Ordnance Plant - Eau Claire, Wisconsin a division of US Rubber Co. (August 1942 to December 1943)
  • LC Lake City Ordnance Plant, Independence, Missouri: a division of Remington Arms. (1940–Present)
  • LM Lowell Ordnance Plant, Lowell, Massachusetts (1942-1943)
  • M Milwaukee Ordnance Plant - Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Operated by US Rubber Co. (August 1942 to December 1943).
  • P or PC Kings Mills Ordnance Plant (Peters Cartridge Company) - Kings Mills, Ohio: a sub-contractor owned by Remington Arms from the 1930s until its closure in 1943.
  • SL St. Louis Ordnance Plant - St.Louis, Missouri: (November 1941 to June 1945)
  • TW Twin Cities Ordnance Plant - Minneapolis, Minnesota: (1942-1945; 1950-1957; 1965-1976; 2002-2005)
  • U or UT Utah Ordnance Plant - Salt Lake City, Utah - a division of Remington Arms. (March 1942 to December 1943).

Civilian Contractors

Commercial Cartridges

The US military used commercial cartridges for its training rifles, non-standard weapons, and shotguns. These usually had different headstamps than the military ammunition (usually their civilian one) and were shipped in commercial crates rather than military packaging.

Commonwealth Military Cartridges

The number in parentheses is the nation's Nation Code.

Australia (66)

Canada (20 and 21)

  • DAC Dominion Arsenal Co. - Quebec City, Quebec; Canada
  • DAL Dominion Arsenal - Lindsay, Ontario, Canada (1914-1918)
  • DAQ Dominion Arsenal - Quebec City, Quebec; Canada[6]
  • IVI Industries Valcartier Inc. - Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier; Canada
  • TR Dominion Rubber & Munitions - Trois Rivieres, Quebec; Canada.
  • VC Verdun Arsenal - Verdun, Quebec; Canada[6]

South Africa (18)

  • U Government Factory - Pretoria - Pretoria, South Africa.

United Kingdom (99)

NATO Manufacturers

The number in parentheses is the nation's Nation Code.

Germany (12)

  • DAG Dynamit Nobel A-G - Troisdorf, Rhein-Sieg-Kreis, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and Fürth. After 2002 RUAG Ammotec, Fürth, Bavaria
  • MEN Metallwerk Elisenhütte Nassau G.m.b.H. - Nassau, Lahn, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Greece (23)

Israel (31)

Italy (15)

The Netherlands (17)

  • AI Artillerie - Inrichtingen NV (1679-1983) - Zaandam, Netherlands.
  • EMZ Eurometaal Zaandam NV (1983–Present) - Zaandam, Netherlands.
  • NWM Nederlandsche Wapen-en Munitiefabriek de Kruithoorn NV (1948-1998) - 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands


South Korea (37)

  • PS (Poong-San), Poongsan Metal Mfg. Co. Ltd. - Seoul, South Korea. Manufactures military cartridges.
  • PMC (Precision-Made Cartridges), a division of Poongsan Metal Mfg. Co. Ltd. - Seoul, South Korea. Manufactures commercial cartridges.

Taiwan (?)

  • TAA Material Production Center, 205th Arsenal, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. A sub-contractor for General Dynamics.[7] They manufacture 5.56mm NATO and 7.62mm NATO cartridges.

See also


  1. Sharpe, Philip B. Complete Guide to Handloading (1953) Funk & Wagnalls p.75
  2. Davis, William C., Jr. Handloading (1981) National Rifle Association p.21
  3. 3.0 3.1 A
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Australian Military Headstamps (1939-1945)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Hendon Ammunition Factory
  6. 6.0 6.1 Davis, William C., Jr. Handloading (1981) National Rifle Association p.12
  7. Battle Over Bullets By Scott Barancik. St. Petersburg Times. Published April 12, 2007

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